I found myself in Google Street View!

google street view wave

Something fun to start off the new year — I found myself in Google Street View!

(A quick search of tumblr posts with streetview in the URL leads to a lot of fun, related stuff.)

Et tu, Google?

In 2008, cuil, a search engine startup, displayed my bio alongside a photo of deceased actress Hilary Mason. In January 2013, Bing confused us, this time putting my photo next to her bio (they fixed it after a suitable amount of mocking on Twitter).

Today, Google did the same thing. (live search link)

Today I win the internet?

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 4.59.24 PM

If you zoom in on the bio section, you can clearly see that it’s her bio with a photo of me (originally from Crain’s New York 40 under Forty). Further, if you go into her filmography, you continue to see my photo.

I’m most proud of my starring role in the amazing film Robot Jox. (bottom right of the image below)


I know that entity disambiguation is a hard problem. I’ve worked on it, though never with the kind of resources that I imagine Google can bring to it. And yet, this is absurd!

Note: It’s also been pointed out to me that there’s a slim possibility that Google’s confusion stems from my own post about Bing’s error, in which case, this post will certainly make the confusion worse. To that I say — bring it on, technofuture irony!


Why Google Now is Awesome

google-now-cardsGoogle Now is an extension to Google’s Android search app that uses all of the data that Google has about you along with what it can guess about your current context to present the information it thinks you need when it thinks you need it.

It’ll tell you to leave a bit early to make your next calendar event because of heavy traffic, or that it’s a friend’s birthday, or that there’s a cool cafe nearby where you are.

I think it’s amazing.

It’s amazing because this is the first Google product that takes ALL OF THE DATA that they have about us and actually makes it useful for us. Not for advertisers.


Why do I miss google calendar invites?

I keep missing Google calendar invites on both my personal and work accounts. I’ve had my google account for years (since 2004?) and assumed it was some quirk of how I had configured something along the way.

Today I was following Google’s instructions for syncing calendars with an iOS device and discovered that if you click calendar settings (which means click the gear icon then ‘calendar settings’), then ‘calendar’, then ‘notifications’ next to the calendar that you care about, you can turn on e-mail and SMS notifications for any given calendar.

(I’ll save my ranting about the number of clicks to find and configuration anything on google’s properties right now for another time.)

I’m sharing this on the theory that I’m not the only one with this particular frustration. I hope it saves someone from missed opportunities and useless rage!